The Honda Civic Type R is undoubtedly one of our favorites, with its exceptional chassis, engine, and overall driving experience. However, if you’re interested in something similar to the Civic Type R, but with a few additional luxurious features, then you’ll want to take a look at the 2024 Acura Integra Type S. It’s essentially a more sophisticated Civic Type R.
The Integra Type R is closely linked to the Civic Type R, as beneath the surface, it’s largely the same, but with some adjustments to make it more appealing to a broader audience. Beneath the hood, it boasts the same turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as the CTR, but with a slightly higher output of 320 horsepower. The four-cylinder is paired with a six-speed manual transmission. If an automatic option is preferred, then neither the Civic Type R nor Integra Type S would be suitable.
In addition to sharing the same engine as the CTR, the Integra Type S also features identical dual-axis front suspension, Brembo brakes, steering rack, springs, dampers, and sway bars. This means that all the elements we admire in the CTR are present. The major difference is that the Integra Type S has an alternative exhaust system that eliminates the front resonator to provide an enjoyable auditory experience. In the Sport+ drive mode, you are treated to all the pops and crackles, which are absent in the CTR.
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While the Integra Type S shares its mechanical components with the CTR, Acura has recalibrated nearly everything. The dampers, power steering, and throttle have all been adjusted to deliver a slightly different, yet still exceptional, driving experience.
Externally, the Integra Type S stands out from the two with its broad fender flares, giving it a more muscular appearance. The large rear wing has been removed, which would clearly be excessive for the Integra Type S. During our time with the Integra Type S, we received more thumbs-up gestures from other road users compared to the Civic Type R.
How does it handle? The Integra Type S perfectly showcases Honda’s engineering prowess. The changes to the engine have expanded its powerband and improved throttle response. The six-speed transmission is also outstanding with its precise short throws. Clutch engagement is also noteworthy.
The Integra Type S is equipped with three drive modes: Comfort, Sport, and Sport+, which adjust the damping to provide either a smooth comfortable ride or a much more aggressive setup. While the Civic Type R’s suspension can be somewhat harsh on uneven roads, the Integra Type S manages to strike a better balance between sport and comfort.
The Comfort drive mode is a bit too soft for our preferences with its light steering and softer damper settings. Sport and Sport+ are our preferred choices most of the time. However, even in its most aggressive Sport+ drive mode, the Integra Type S adeptly hugs the road without the harshness associated with the CTR. While the CTR is tailored for the track, the Integra Type S serves as a better daily driver.
Inside, the Integra Type S does not offer the same excellent seats as the CTR, which is disappointing. The seats here are less assertive and more reminiscent of those in the standard Integra. We wish Acura provided a sportier seat arrangement with larger bolsters to keep us firmly in the driver’s seat, although the suede inserts perform well. Additionally, the front seats are heated, a feature absent in the CTR. While the exterior styling effectively sets the Type S apart from the CTR, the interior feels somewhat reminiscent of the Civic.
The interior features a similar mesh grille design and the same touchscreen. Even the center console is largely unchanged. This gives the Integra Type S a somewhat less distinctive feel. It’s good that the Integra Type S comes with a touchscreen infotainment system rather than the frustrating system found in the rest of the Acura lineup, but it’s apparent that it was directly borrowed from the CTR. A 16-speaker ELS Studio 3D audio system is standard and represents an upgrade over the CTR’s audio system.
The rear bench is upholstered in a superior material to that of the CTR and like the Honda, the middle seat has been removed, resulting in a four-seater configuration. Thanks to a bit more sound-deadening material, the Integra Type S boasts a quieter interior than the CTR.
The 2024 Acura Integra Type S is priced at $51,995, making it approximately $7k more expensive than the 2023 Civic Type R. This price places the Integra Type S in the same category as the Audi S3, BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupe, and Mercedes-AMG CLA 35. While those models may feature all-wheel drive, unlike the front-wheel drive Integra, none of them are offered with a manual transmission.
At the end of the day, we still adore everything about the Honda Civic Type R, but the Acura Integra Type S represents a more enjoyable hot hatch. Its performance is nearly identical to the CTR, but the minor changes provide it with a more refined feel, making it a car that we could easily use for our daily commute and then take on the twisties over the weekend.
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